Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fish might fly

I was lying awake last night worrying about a goldfish. Yeah, I know that counting sheep might have been more restful, but yesterday's sleep nemesis was a fish called Nemo.

We're five weeks away from moving country, and chin-deep in lists. Lists about making lists; lists of things we've done; lists of things to do; you name it, we've put it on a list.

The variety of job-choice is endless, ranging from the banal: scrub away all evidence of DestructoToddler from the walls of our Dublin home; to the critical: enrol Jonah in school for September. But am I doing any of these things? Am I buggery. Instead, I'm Googling "transporting fish 250 miles" and calculating how many plastic bags might be necessary to prevent leakage during an eight-hour car ride.

Yeah, yeah, I know: just flush the damn fish already and buy a new one in England. Christ knows, this isn't the first move we've had that involved fish-rehousing. When we left London for Seattle, one of our final duties before the Pickfords van showed up was to lug an industrial dustbin full of appropriately-algaed fish water (and accompanying bin bag of tropical fish) to Oxford Circus. Strangely, we were able to say goodbye to the little floaters without too many tears.

This time, of course, it's not about us. It's about the kids, and more specifically Jonah. Jonah picked out Nemo for his third birthday present. Well, OK, so technically he picked out a different fish, but when that one died after a couple of months, we went back for another one, and this one, he has lived. I guess the first one was the aquatic equivalent of a starter marriage, teaching us to love and nurture this little fishy until death us do part.

Or ....250 miles, followed by death.

Jonah loves this fish. Jonah's closing in on four-and-a-half, so Nemo has been in Jonah's life almost as long as Lucas has; and on some days, it's a close call which one he prefers. He comes down in the morning and chats to Nemo, and when we're away, Jonah phones his BFF, little Finn across the road, with strict instructions on fish care.

And, well, we're about to change most other aspects of Jonah's life, so flushing the fish just doesn't seem reasonable. Moving back to the UK is, in part, a way of knitting the boys more closely to their extended family and showing them the value of roots. It's not exactly practising what I preach if the first casualty of the "closer family" move is one of Jonah's favourite family members, albeit a (virtually) spineless one, is it?

I know, too, that focusing on the fish is just a way of putting my fingers in my ears and ignoring everything else that needs to happen. Denial? Yeah, and?

Anyway, if you'll excuse me, I've got "transporting fish" to Google again....


Anonymous said...

I remember one of my primary school teachers reading to us a story about a boy whose goldfish, Bubbles, had been flushed away and who imagined it growing to gigantic size in the sewers. Do you have any idea what book that was?

Three suggestions, imaginative one first: get Nemo sponsorship and a TV crew and possibly John in a rowing boat to keep him company and have him swim the Irish sea for Unicef. Then any official who dares suggest he has no fish-passport will get crucified by the tabloids. Second idea: plead that as he has his own little bowl he's in his own travelling quarantine. Third idea: go by ferry, have a small tank with a tight lid and keep it in the car, and the chances of anyone noticing are virtually zilch. Very bad idea: give him to us:-)

vegemitevix said...

I completely understand your devotion to your pets Sarah. My devotion to my pets cost about $NZD5000 I've written about it here

Pets and kids. I tell myself I did it for the kids, but actually...yeah ok I did it for me!

Anonymous said...

Reaslied my comment was slightly besied the point: reference to plastic bags suggests you are more concerned for the fish's well-being on the journey than his reception by immigration officials. (Do fish need pet passports within Europe? Surely not?) But I will prepare some 'Don't deport Nemo' banners just in case.

Screw-top jar?

Fitzet said...

A sealed large Tupperware lunchbox will be fine for the goldfish. If you can open the lid now and again to refresh the air in the box he should come through no trouble. I've driven with fish in my car for six hours with no fatalaties and goldfish are much tougher than tropicals. I wouldn't feed him till the day after travelling and I bet he will be fine.

Sarah said...

Brilliant advice - thanks, all. There may be hope yet for Nemo...